Student group brings insights into refugee life to La Trobe University

Student group brings insights into refugee life to La Trobe University

26 Aug 2008

Walking blindfolded through La Trobe University and dodging 'mines' and 'border guards' might raise a few eyebrows around campus tomorrow (Wednesday 27 August), but it is all in the quest of gaining a greater understanding of the plight of refugees.

Dr Alberto Gomes and members of the ESP Collective

A group of students from the Equality, Sustainability and Peace (ESP) collective have organised a simulation of a refugee camp where staff, students, and members of the public are set to learn what life as a refugee is all about - fear, displacement, and loss.

The ESP collective began earlier this year when several La Trobe University Anthropology students were inspired by their lecturer, Dr Alberto Gomes, who introduced them to the concept in his unit on 'Development, Globalisation and Culture'.

The group hopes the refugee camp simulation will give participants an insight into the realities experienced by millions of displaced peoples around the world

The journey will begin in a mock 'village', where people will be herded up and given an ID card before being led through a 'mine field' wearing a blindfold (to improvise walking at night). They will then have to be assessed by a 'border guard' before being permitted to register in a camp.

Organiser Ben Parangi said the tour guide will have an important role explaining the significance of each of these journeys to participants.

This is just one project the ESP collective are organising, others include an on-campus community garden, a Schools Program and publication of a 'Sustainable Eats Guide.'

Adapted from an OxFam program, Refugee Realities is open to all staff, students and members of the public on Tuesday 26 and 27 of August on the lawn between Social Sciences and Donald Whitehead buildings.

Media enquiries

Emma Yager

La Trobe University

To arrange an interview or for further information, please contact:

Ben Parangi

Equality, Sustainability and Peace Collective





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